The Philadelphia Eagles are playing hosts tonight for the NFL Draft and own the 14th overall pick. Philadelphia has to get their first pick right because the thousands of Eagle fans in attendance will give them their seal of approval or disapproval either way. The last thing the team needs is to be booed off the stage in front of millions of viewers across the country. Although the Eagles still have many positions that need to be addressed in the upcoming draft, only a few positions are worth taking a look at with their 14th pick. Here are five players who would fit in well with the Philadelphia Eagles when they pick at 14.
With the current allegations that Gareon Conley is facing, the stocks are rising for cornerbacks who were originally ranked behind him. One of those men is Marlon Humphrey from the University of Alabama. Most players who start on defense for Alabama are usually pretty good, and the same can be said for Humphrey. The Eagles have a glaring need at corner, and he may be the best available when they are on the clock.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network spoke on his thoughts on Marlon Humphrey heading into the draft during a draft preview with the Redskins.
“I love everything about Marlon Humphrey except he struggled to find the football in the air with his back to the quarterback. That’s a huge deal.”
Despite his struggles with the deep ball, he can still grow into a fine player in Jim Schwartz defensive scheme.
Although mock drafts have him all over the place right now, Christian McCaffrey is a can’t-miss running back prospect who the Eagles must take if he falls to 14. Philadelphia has not drafted a running back in 31 years, but this may be the year to consider it. The team currently has Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Ryan Matthews under contract at running back. Matthews is expected to be released once cleared from his injury, Sproles is in the last year of his contract at the age of 33, and Smallwood is coming off an average at best rookie season. If they want to relieve some pressure off of Carson Wentz’s shoulders, drafting McCaffrey would give them another dynamic to their offense.
The one position the Philadelphia Eagles did address during the offseason was wide receiver. The team signed free agents Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith to substantially improve the team’s receiving core heading into next season. However, you can never have too much of a good thing, and Mike Williams could learn underneath veterans like Jeffrey and Smith. Mike Mayock and ESPN’s Todd McShay both have the Eagles taking Williams in their mock drafts, but it is no longer a position of need. After tonight, we will find out if the Eagles are drafting for need or for the best player available.
The Eagles have already allocated a large amount of their salary to the defensive line between Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. However, the former Tennessee Volunteer proved during his junior year why he deserves to be a top draft pick. He finished the year with 13 sacks and drew comparisons around the NFL to the Baltimore Ravens Terrell Suggs. With an explosive playmaker on the defensive line, the Philadelphia Eagles won’t have as many concerns with the back end of their defense as long as Barnett turns out to be the prospect everyone claims he is.
Another defensive standout from Alabama may be available when the Eagles are on the clock at 14. Reuben Foster was the anchor of the Crimson Tide defense and deserves to be a top five selection based on talent alone. However, Foster has some baggage that may lead to him being available later in the first round. Foster was caught in an incident that led to him leaving the NFL Combine early, and he had a diluted urine sample just this past week. The Eagles may be able to overlook these minor incidents if they see Foster as a man who can become the leader of their defense for the next decade. No matter who the Philadelphia Eagles take in the upcoming draft, General Manager Howie Roseman feels confident fans will be happy with the selection.
Tim McManus of ESPN quoted Roseman during his article regarding the Eagles’ draft options.
“One thing I know, when we make a pick at 14 with the way our board looks right now, we’re gonna all be high-fiving.”
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]